Corner on Morality

Today, during my PCM, I got to have a great conversation with a man who has been devoting his life to the city. He grew up in a rough part of Chicago and through sports and men coming along side him, he was able to stay away from drugs, alcohol, and the like. In his words, “I stayed on the straight and narrow.”

From then on he hold us about how a coach (basically) mentored him and 30 other guys as they participated in sports.  “Each of those guys,” he said, “are now involved in some kind of program.”  Each of the guys he grew up with, who was mentored, are now participating in helping the children of Chicago get off the streets. They have started after school programs and sports teams to benefit the city at cost to their own comforts.

The problem? He is not a Christian.  He is doing all of these great things but he does not profess Jesus Christ as his savior.  He sacrificially gives of his time, money, and energy to benefit someone else.

Often Christians like to look out at the world and say, “look at how much we have done! We are such a benefit to everyone around us.  Praise God for us. We have a corner on goodness and morality.”  This type of thinking is foolish.

It is foolish, and incorrect, to think that we have a corner on goodness and morality.  Arrogance pervades our minds when we think that we can serve better, be better, and help more people than non-christians.

As Christians we should be freely admitting that we DONT have that corner.  We know that we aren’t good, which is why Christ came for sinners. He came to show us that we are not good, while we may be able to do “good” things for those around us, fundamentally we are not good. To look down our noses at non-Christians who are serving and still believe “if only they served like us” or “they are not as effective” is the antithesis of Christianity.  Christ condemned that kind of religion.

We have much to learn from non-Christians.  Obviously, I will never say that the Gospel should be compromised.  However, a non-Christian father may parent his kids better than a Christian father or a Christian may not be a better student of culture than that of a non-believer.

Let us not believe that we have any corner on morality.  Let us not be arrogant about service (doesn’t that seem to defeat the purpose).  Let us believe that Jesus is our goodness.  Our joy and service is rooted in Him. Lets come humbly to learn life skills from non-Christians.  Let us put off elitism and religion for a violent pursuit of the Gospel.

This non-Christian man has a greater heart for the city than I. I have much to learn from him.  Jesus, let my learning remain Gospel centered and Christocentric.

What are some ways you can learn from non-Christians?

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4 comments on “Corner on Morality
  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Christopher Lash, Christopher Lash. Christopher Lash said: Quick post on Christians and morality and service. Tell me what you think. http://ow.ly/435tD […]

  2. Caleb says:

    Hey Chris,

    I think that Christians do have the corner on morality. What good are your deeds without faith? Our morals are based in God’s character. Anything else is a twisted view of morality. If not done for God’s glory, it’s rooted in sinfulness. Romans 8:8 says that “those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” So if a person is doing “good works” or living a moral life, without the Holy Spirit, the works are worthless. In fact, Paul says in Philipians all the good works he had done prior were trash compared to knowing Christ. (Phil. 3)

    In regards to your statement, “This non-Christian man has a greater heart for the city than I. I have much to learn from him.” Jesus has an even greater heart, and from Him should we learn. I’m not sure that our example should be a person without Christ ruling in his or her heart. That borders on moralism. Our example is Jesus, and how He laid down His life for us. That should be our motivation for good works.

    So, do we have a corner on morality? Without Christ, no. But the Holy Spirit DOES have a corner on morality, and He lives in us. And that’s far more powerful than any reason for good works that an unbeliever has.

    • Chris Lash says:

      Bro,

      Thanks for reading and commenting bro. I appreciate the feedback.

      Regarding your comment, I hear you. I agree with you to an extent. Yes, Jesus is our ultimate example of what it means to have a heart for the city (and everything for that matter). Additionally, I agree that it is impossible to please God without the Holy Spirit and works done outside of that is not God honoring. Also, I dont dispute the fact that our motivation should rest in Jesus: for I agree entirely with that.
      When I use the term morality I dont mean in right standing with God, I believe we both affirm that, however, I do mean that I can learn from the way they live their lives. Just as the Christian musician can learn from non-Christian musicians, so can we learn from non-Christians. (I would never take that to the extreme extent of learning all things.)
      Our motivation needs to be rooted in glorifying God and in doing so, keeping the cross central. We can learn methodology for doing business, service, how to use language well, ect., from those who are outside of Christ. And please dont get me wrong, I in no way am advocating casting out the Gospel for methodology.

      Thanks again for reading and posting. I look forward to hear from you whether it be in the room or this median.

      • Caleb says:

        Chris, perhaps what you are trying to say is that Christians don’t have the corner on social services… not that we don’t have the corner on morality. I agree we can learn much from pre-Christians, however, I believe that morality is not one of those things. We learn what goodness and morals are from the Scriptures.

        And again, as you pointed out, helping people out without the Gospel is worthless. So yes, we can learn methods from those with more experience, but our standard for what we do is still found within orthodox Christianity. Look forward to discussing this with you as well brother, over some Mug.

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